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Ramblings of a Ranger- Just a Pond
Nature poetry- National Parks
From the Summit Lake Ranger Station log book, Lassen Volcanic National Park: A fine day- I traveled from Summit Lake around the Cluster Lakes Loop- Echo Lake to Twin to Silver, on to Bear Lake, and around to Summit again. It was a warm day, crystal blue sky, like a deep turquoise desert above- such a day of wonders. So much snow (left from the winter)! I walked 11 miles, by map, but must have walked 15 miles, up and down the deep drifts of snow, lots of sliding down, falling down- losing the snow-covered trail again and again... saw nobody all day! Just me and the world of Lassen. Usually by June I am running the Cluster Lakes Loop, only a few snow patches, but this year, wow! It will be a few weeks before I can run (these trails) fast... this evening some of us took out canoes on Manzanita Lake- we read "Earth Prayers" from a book, drifted, paddled, sipped homemade Kahlua... and watched the Earth turn- saw the twinkling stars come out... (the reflection of) the half moon, with Jupiter nearby, sparkled across the rippling lake water like silver dreams.
JUST A POND:
He recalls: Just a pond, he says. Just a pond? she echoes... No singing creek to hike to this day. Almost a disappointment for him and her, it seems; for both Love the crash-falling water, rapid pulse of life, Rush of energy.
She remembers: He has brought me to the mountain top, my feet crunch and pop the parched wood and pine cones. Dry, warm air blows in the towering trees and we climb up and up to his secret to share.
He: Just a pond, says he, as they walk up and up the dusty road-trail. Dogs racing ahead and back, hurry, hurry their tails wag. Off the trail, he leads, turning away from the present, Let's get into the resource, he thinks, has been trained to do, Loves it with all his being... with each step, dry ground puffs up into little dust clouds. Seared cones and branches crackle... high summer, with its bone-bleached arid dry.
She: He tells me to look up and I am swallowed by the beauty in front of me. It starts the tears to flow. A piece of emerald Heaven is stretched out before me like a welcoming lover. The pond is untouched and stuck in hidden time, and we alone are there to share it.
He: Above, oceans of water ride the air currents, billowing cumulus climbing up and up, Drawn by the sun... a promise of sweet rain... somewhere. Ahead, a glimpse of jade, of emerald, of a thousand shimmers of green. From the shadow forest we step into an amphitheater of light. Table Mountain, and 'his' pond still there, feels eyes sting with tears at being home. Sees her tears of joy and knows she has a home here, too. Warm shallows, deeper center, all his old friends are gathered.
She: I enter the calm water, slowly, feeling the slick ooze and the movement of grass on my feet. Cool and welcoming in this July heat. My eyes filled with the enticing sea of different greens from deep forest to bright spring, Surrounding me. Blue sky with white clouds billow overhead in constant building motion, Reminding us of their greatness.
He: Welcome, whisper the tall trees! Hello, buzz the dragonflies, damselflies, bees. You're back! We're glad you're back, call the tadpoles. Hey! Sing out the yellow water lilies, the myriad water insects and stones and sky.
She: Life darts throughout this world, new beginnings for all who enter here! Chubby pollywogs dash from one hiding place to another, just ahead of my soft step. Mosquito hawks flutter up by the dozens, like fairies in flight, around me. Water boatmen row their oars, keeping time with the slight breeze that moves the reeds. Fluorescent blue damselflies cling to tops of green points and I bend down to touch them. Knowing not humans, they willingly climb onto my beckoning hand while another freely Lands on my outstretched arm.
He: Blue, deep, the arching sky, the towers of white cloud, great ships riding the air streams. And a peace, the peace he hungers for, as needed s sleep, as drink, as food, Nourishes his soul, restores her heart, brings them closer to perfection.
She: I am overcome by the energy of new life and growth of the young creatures, Swirling power climbs up my limbs, fills my heart until my eyes overflow with gratefulness To be blessed with the friendship of one who knows this secret treasure in the world. A sanctuary, rarely bothered by us busy humans making too much time for living our lives, But not living. Here, I am only a visitor to God's legacy, for we must head back down to the heat. But, the moments spent here reside in my cells as a gift from a friend who has No idea of his great worth...
He: In the end, a life of memories, memories of a life lived well. Come back soon, cry his friends, his family, As the sacred shrine is left, to return to, again and again, In another time, in another space.
Poetry by D. Frederick and B. Hamilton